In response to the Prime Minister’s announcement of a regeneration programme focusing on 100 areas in the UK, Nottingham City Council and Nottingham City Homes (NCH) are calling on the Government to come and see the estates they are transforming across the city.
The Building a Better Nottingham council housing programme, which is the largest new build council programme in the city since the 60s, has already seen huge transformation in neighbourhoods previously renowned for their high rise flats.
The Government’s announcement comes as the housing element of the Building a Better Nottingham programme moves into its fourth year, having now built nearly 150 homes creating family homes, bungalows and sheltered housing apartments where high rise blocks and disused garages once stood.
In Radford three tower blocks – Clifford, Highurst and Highcross Court – which have stood since the 60s were demolished to make way for more than 50 new family homes. The decision was made to demolish the high rise blocks as the flats were no longer fit for purpose. The cost to maintain in the long term was substantially more than to take down and build new energy efficient homes on the existing sites.
All homes have been fitted with energy-efficient A-rated windows and doors, and photo voltaic solar panels will be fitted to every eligible roof. Each house is also built as a Lifetime Home, allowing it to adapt to tenants’ needs.
Close by in Lenton, the last of five concrete tower blocks is due to be demolished over the coming weeks, making way for new homes to be built in its footprint. The land made available through the demolition has already seen the construction of Palmer Court, an Independent Living scheme which includes 55 self-contained flats, complete with communal areas and gardens. Work is also underway to build family homes and bungalows.
On the other side of the city in The Meadows, work has already begun on the demolition of the old Q Block style flats, making way for construction to begin on 52 new family homes. Another 48 houses will be built on Cranwell Road in Strelley; all designed using innovative BIM (Building Information Modelling) technology, the first social housing development of its size to do so in the UK.
The programme is not just about the bricks and mortar, communities are being transformed and supported throughout the process with local labour and materials being sourced as close to site as possible, as well as job, education and training opportunities being made available to local people.
Councillor Jane Urquhart, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing, said: “The Prime Minister says the Government is very keen on tearing down high rise tower blocks and transforming them into affordable housing to better suit people’s needs, but they haven’t provided any details behind this announcement or identified which 100 estates they are looking at. It’s also not clear that the funding comes anywhere near the amount needed to achieve its aims.
“In Nottingham we have a very strong track record in redeveloping outdated tower blocks and transforming them into a range of different types of affordable housing which better fit our citizens’ needs and which better integrate and help to regenerate inner city neighborhoods.
“We’d like to invite the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Communities to come and see for themselves the good work which has been done here, talk to the people who used to live in cold and drafty flats who now are living in homes which better suit their needs, and to discuss with us and NCH what our experiences are and how the city’s success story can be replicated across the 100 estates across the country that they want to look at.
“We have made a considerable investment in transforming and updating much-needed social housing in Nottingham and we’d take the opportunity of any Government minister’s visit to discuss some of the potential ramifications that the proposed housing bill, which is currently going through parliament, could have on us being able to continue to transform further social housing and how it may impinge on the Government’s own plans to transform 100 estates across the rest of the UK.”
The Building a Better Nottingham council housing programme of works could not have been possible without the investment and support from the Homes and Communities Agency.